The first graduate nurse in America to take up private duty nursing. She came to Washington state in 1889 and was a charter member of the Pierce County Nurses Association in 1905. She was one of the twelve nurses who organized the Washington State Graduate Nurses Association, (later renamed WSNA in 1940). In 1908, she was elected as the first treasurer of WSGNA and was reelected to that position until 1921 when she retired due to failing health.
In 1922, when she died, her final legacy to nurses was that she left her home to be used as the nucleus to establish a fund for "sick and worn-out nurses in the State of Washington." The Washington State Nurses Foundation continues to raise funds for the Etta B. Cummings fund to assist nurses in need.